Yesterday in the shower, I encountered a wild thing. A small wild thing, but a wild thing none-the-less. He first appeared next to my Aussie shampoo bottle, and since I don’t shower with my glasses on, I couldn’t tell right away if he was dead or alive. I jiggled the shampoo bottle and watched him wiggle top speed up the tiles until he came eye-to-eye with me. Even without my glasses, I could see his little reptilian chest pounding through his color-changing skin. I know if he could speak at this point, he’d be saying, “What! You no like geckos?” I wanted to tell him that I love geckos, especially the cute baby ones like himself and even though his enormous extended family that live behind the clock in my living room are not as cute, I’m still grateful to them for eating all the nasty cock-a-roaches that sneak in.
With my loofah hanging next to him, I wondered how I would remove it from the hook without once again terrifying my little shower friend. Like a speeding figure eight, he scurried back to the Aussie bottle. I lathered. I scrubbed. I rinsed, leaving the lizard alone, but the real drama began when I turned off the water and stepped out. Because it’s an old house, the drain takes its sweet time, leaving a few inches of water to slowly work its way down and out.
Towel-wrapped, I decided I needed to capture the little guy and set him free outside, fearing otherwise he’d become a play toy for our serial-killer cat, Blue (more on him in the future). I crouched down and cupped my hands around the lizard, but in a fitful rage he escaped through a crack between my two thumbs and plunged headfirst into the draining tub. Much to my surprise, he swam with Michael Phelps finesse. He even flipped himself upside-down twice in order to rest a second before flipping back over to finish his cross-tub journey.
Once to the other side, perhaps out of pure exhaustion, he couldn’t get himself attached to the slippery tub, so I intervened again and tried to scoop him out. This is when he released his wiggling tail into the water—a survival device—making it impossible for him to continue swimming. Panicked, I cupped the poor little tailless critter and tossed him onto the tile floor. His limp little body didn’t move, and I was sure he was tragically dead. I tapped him with my pinky finger, and he twitched. There was hope. I blew on him, tapped again, and off he went to the far corner of the bathroom.
Relieved, I left him alone…just long enough to grab my new iphone. He hadn’t moved much, but his eyes were wide open as I knelt in front of him to snap his mug shot. This time I could hear him telling me off. “Eh, what you doing now? My tail going take t’ree weeks for grow back laddat, and now you going take my pict-cha? You like me say Cheese, too?”
When I opened the bathroom door, my waterlogged friend stammered out into the hall, heading toward the sleeping cat.
I got dressed, dried my hair, and headed out to the movies to see “Where The Wild Things Are.” It was okay.
In bed last night I imagined being awakened by an angry tailless gecko. “I tell you where da kine, wild things stay,” he’d whisper. “I stay looking at one wild buggah right hea!”